As a starting point to discuss such a broad ranging subject, I will express my philosophical approach to health and wellness, which are the opposite of disease and illness.

My personal and professional practices are centered within an acceptance of a mind and body integration. What this means is that we cannot view the health of the body, without considering the state of the mind and visa-versa. In many traditional healing traditions, disease is often considered of a psychosomatic origin. Psyche refers to the mind and soma refers to the body. The concept of psychosomatic illness or dis-ease (a separation, or distinction from ease, which is a feeling and practice of health) is that the manifestation of a physical illness or ailment may have its origin in sick or ill beliefs, or state of mind, which, left undetected, results in the physical symptoms suffered.

This viewpoint may seem at odds with the Western medical establishment, which tends to diagnose and treat symptoms. You have an infection, you take this pill, you have a tumor, you receive this surgical intervention, etc. This is a focus on the effect, the manifestation of illness. However, such a symptomatic approach may neglect the causal factors. Perhaps it ignores, they how and why in favor of the what. This is not to dismiss the marvel of modern medicines, which has been effective in eradicating epidemics, and is wonderfully effective and often life-saving in emergency situations. However, the focus on this approach is on disease, and my focus, and hopefully yours, is on health!

This simplistic view is not meant to offend those whose lives may depend upon the efficacy of modern medicines, nor the highly-trained medical professions who have taken an oath to do no harm and to give her very best to heal those who seek her treatment. But again, my expertise and experience is in health and wellness, in living a vital and productive, disease-free life, and it is in this spirit in which I share my views.

With this philosophical overview, how does it actually work? If there is a psychosomatic influence to illness and disease, might there also be the same influence in the quest for a healthy, vital, disease-free existence? Indeed! So how does it work.

We seem to have a much better understanding of what we call the Body than we do about the Mind.

The body is our vessel, the physical aspect of ourselves, which relates to the sensory world around us. We can touch/feel, smell, see, hear and taste with various parts of the body. We also can perform all sorts of locomotion, such as rolling, crawling, sitting, standing, squatting, lunging, walking, running, throwing, kicking, punching and jumping. The body is certainly useful!

But what of the Mind? What exactly IS the mind? Can it think? Can it feel? Can it problem solve?

Those functions that we generally associate with cognition are associated with what we call the brain. But is the brain the same thing as the mind? We know that the brain resides in the cranium, in the head. But where exactly does the mind reside?
When analyzing the Mind, we can form several classifications:

The Conscious Mind: this is centered in the brain, and it is what we use for thinking, problem solving and decision making.

The Subconscious Mind can be viewed as the operating system of the mind. It is beyond the conscious awareness and exisst outside of the conscious mind. Yet it can be controlled by conscious decisions. We cannot say specifically where the subconscious mind exists, or if it even has a physical location. Some believe that it is centered in the solar plexus or the heart center.

It is in understanding the roles that the conscious and subconscious mind play that we can appreciate the significance of psychosomatic WELLNESS and in doing so, create a more healthful, more vibrant existence.

We all have some inkling of how our conscious mind works. Simply, it is the sum of all the thoughts and ideas that you have each day. Each time you have a thought, or a thought crosses your mind, you are accessing your conscious mind. But what about the subconscious mind, and why is it so important to understand it and to use it more effectively?

By way of illustration, we are all familiar of the parable from the Bible that says, we Reap what we Sow. To reap means to gather or to harvest, to collect. To sow means to plant.

Another parables speaks of enjoying the Fruits of your labor.

These, any countless other examples of the wisdom traditions, tell us clearly that before we can REAP we have to SOW and before we get the FRUIT, we have to labor.
How does all this relate to being healthy and avoiding illness and dis-ease? Well, the conscious mind is like the seeds, and your subconscious mind is like the fertile soil. If you put seeds into fertile soil, they will grow. If you plant weeds through negative thinking, and dwelling on what you DON’T want in life, you will bear a garden full of weeds. On the other hand, if you plant fruit seeds, through positive and empowering thoughts, you will bear these fruits in the form of a healthy life.

The predominate foci of your conscious mind, plants seeds of thoughts and your subconscious mind follows the orders that your conscious mind gives it. The subconscious mind is always working, never rests, and is most active while you are sleeping. That is, when the conscious mind is switched off.

Therefore, to bear the fruit of a healthful, happy and vital life, you have to feed your subconscious mind with healthful, happy, and vital thoughts.

Sounds too simplistic, but it is really true. To create the life you want, the body you want and the result you want, it begins in your state of mind, your thoughts, your attitudes. Don’t believe me? Well THAT is the real issue!

We know about the importance of exercise, of moving, stretching, building the muscles. But you can exercise every day and not be healthy or happy or vital. Because exercise addresses the physical body but unless it is conscious, with the mind and body working together toward your goals, it is incomplete. You also have to exercise your conscious mind by being disciplined, by taking charge of your own thoughts. When you find yourself becoming negative or doubtful, replace those negative thoughts with thoughts that are positive and empowering.

These are my thoughts about health and wellness. Notice I did not dwell on illness and disease, because frankly, that is not my interest. Keep your eye on the prize as the saying goes!

In closing, I leave you with a powerful quote by Henry Ford: “Whether You Believe You Can, or You Can’t, You Are Right”

THINK yourself to a life of health, wellness and vitality!

Steve Cotter

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